About Me

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Surrey, BC, Canada
DX in '01 with MS; in Jan 02, Told it was PPMS "the good kind" whatever that means.... The progression of my MS has been a long and arduous journey, the last 5 years specifically. I went from complete independance (I drove, went to the mall, movies etc) to the point I am at now. I haven't been to a grocery store in about 3 years (I love grocery shopping), Ikea it has been about 5 years, Costco, at least 5 years - SUCKS!! My DL expired last birthday, and I didn't renew right away for two reasons - I didn't want to drive because of my MS (being responsible) and 2, I couldn't afford the renewal fee (cut my wage by $4 per hour due to the economy, which led to apathy on my part) Married since 1994 to my AMAZING husband, Dan; no kids but we have the freedom to travel - and travel we do!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My MS treatment - yes I'm back!!

Hello all!  I am back from Cabo San Lucas, and am THRILLED with the results!  I won’t bore you with the incredible calibre of care received by everyone at the AmeriMed hospital, only to say I would not hesitate to return for any operation!   Sorry if I run on a little long, but I am so excited. 

Saturday night
I arrived to the hotel on Sat Oct 16/10 at around 5PM and was met by the two coordinators from the hospital where we dealt with all the paperwork and what my schedule would be.  To expedite, they recommended I go that evening to get my MRI, then have Sunday free to eat & drink anything (as Andreas the awesome hospital coordinator told me to do), and go to the hospital Monday morning at 8AM for a plethora of tests and the procedure.

We ensured the luggage was in our room, then went to the hospital, where I was led out of the main clinic in a wheelchair by the MRI technician, across the parking lot (feeling weird), behind the hospital to a portable ATCO type trailer, placed on to a wobbly lift and elevated to the machine.  Felt weird, but when you realize that in Mexico, they place value on the care and quality of the equipment, and not so much on what the building looks like you understand.  So after the initial MRI they needed to inject contrast dye in my veins, and this is where it got interesting. 

They could not find a vein to inject the dye into.   The guy tried twice in my left arm,  then my right arm.  He had a senior nurse come out to help and she finally found a vein in my left hand and they injected the dye!!  I finally got  back to the hotel at 10:49 PM, bruised and starving as we hadn’t eaten since that morning in Vancouver.

Monday morning, 8AM at the hospital – met with a team of doctors (Neurologists’ etc)
for my Neuro exam (including standing, walking and balance, general memory & and coordination) Had a hearing test, left ear damaged, only about 25% hearing left in left ear. Doppler scan – this was disappointing, as it showed no CCSVI, however, the tech recommended I receive the procedure anyway as there was something that did not seem right.  - Blood work (my cholesterol level was good they said, yeah for small things). The finally around 1-1:30 off for my procedure. Nice and easy, the surgeon (my newest hero Dr. Rafael Moguel) had Supertramp playing which was pretty awesome and relaxing.  Then Victor ( the anaesthesiologist sat beside me and stroked my head and held my hand telling me, this will only hurt for a minute, are you okay (since when do you get that type of care in BC?).   The only pain I felt was when they were ballooning my jugular veins.  There was definite Stenosis/Occlusion in both jugulars, leaving me with  approximately 30-40% proper circulation.  (Stenosis is more like a “kink” in the vein; it is the narrowing of a blood vessel or any other opening inside the body. This narrowing can cause an obstruction or blockage to occur).   He ballooned the left side twice, and the right side once.

Before I knew it, all was done they bandaged me up and wheeled me back to recovery.  After resting for about 30 minutes, they brought me a burger (that I ordered), and a huge plate of fresh fruit (one of the reasons Mexico is so great).    After eating, I got changed and upon standing noticed the first improvement – my left ear, the hearing was almost perfect, and I had balance (no wobbling!).  Back to the hotel by 5PM, and asleep by 6:30! I spent the next few days resting, sleeping & eating.  I walked a fair bit, but definitely need some physio and exercise to rebuild my strength. 
Immediate Improvements –
  • Hearing
  • Balanced standing
  • My right foot lifts, does not drag – ergo no tripping!
  • Vision, ever so slightly better – need to get a new prescription!
  • Fatigue/Energy level, no longer exhausted by 8PM
  • Heat tolerance – no longer always hot! I don’t need a fan on me always
  • Arms  I can lift them past my waist now and reach for the sky!  (In Surrey, a Dr assumed it was bursitis, if it was, no more!) 
  • No cog-fog – this was immediate!
  • My right hand, the numbness that has plagued me for years is almost gone, I can cut my food if needed and write better than a child
  • No longer choke on food!
Went for follow-up exam, the ear doctor said he wished all patients were like me, left ear improved by more than 15 decibels.    Walking speed was better by 8-10 seconds or so, and I closed my eyes while standing and didn’t “list” to one side or fall.
Some of these  things will continue to improve with time and physical work on my part – which I can now do as I am no longer always exhausted!!  I am also starting a “heavy metal cleanse” – meant to reduce the levels my body naturally (unnaturally?) stores.

All in all, the best money  I ever spent!  I was mistaken - I will need to pay a nominal charge plus my air & hotel for follow-up care.. still the best reason to spend 15grand.... I mean this was “risky and Dangerous”, so it is doubtful an appropriate doctor would touch  this (i.e. a Vascular doctor).

It is a real shame this can’t be done locally though, as this just proves, while not a cure for MS it is definitely worth it.  In my opinion, this is truly a job better suited to the “plumber” (vascular)  versus the “electrician” (neurologist).  Cabo  - just Cabo - is expecting 60+ Canadians in January 2011!!

1 comment:

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